Astralop Astralian Breed




The Australorp is a fairly recent arrival on the chicken scene, but in it’s relatively short history it has made a huge impression on chicken keepers and the poultry industry the world over.

The name is a contraction of Australian black Orpington. The breed was called by several different names before Australorp was settled upon.

Since the major development of this breed was done in Australia, they are the honorary National bird of Australia.

In this article we will look at their temperament, egg laying ability and breed standard, before addressing how to properly care for them and common health issues.

History of Australorps

In the early 1900s, William Cook’s Orpingtons were imported to Australia with the intention of creating a good dual purpose bird suitable for the Australian climate. They were crossed with

Rhode Island Reds to improve the egg laying ability.


In England, the Orpington was being refined to produce good quality meat, but the ever practical Australian poultry breeders of the 1920s wanted a good utility bird with the emphasis on lots of eggs and secondary, meat production.

To this end Cook’s Orpingtons were crossed with Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas, white Leghorn, Langshan and possibly some Plymouth Rocks.

The result was a bird that was a phenomenal layer – probably the combination of Orpington, Leghorn and Rhode Island Red genes made this bird a laying superstar!

In 1922-23 six Australorp hens laid 1,857 eggs, averaging 309.5 eggs per bird over a 365 day period.

Regular egg laying contests were held all over Australia and the following year a hen laid 347 eggs in 365 days. The current record stands as 364 eggs in 365 days – an amazing achievement, especially when you consider this was done without extra lighting for the hens.

The poultry industry soon became interested in them because of their prolific egg laying ability – it was a breed they didn’t have to coerce into laying.

The interest waned in the 1930-1940s as the Australorp was crossed with the white Leghorn creating the Austra White, an even more productive hen.

The Australorp went into a decline which has been reversed over the last few years. It is listed as a recovering breed. They remain a top layer to this day and are well suited for the smaller backyard environment.

Backyard chicken folk love them for the same reason – and a few more besides.

They also go by the names Black Australorp (there are white and blue also), Australian Orpington or Australs.

The Australorp, while shy initially, is known to be an extremely friendly large-breed chicken. They make the perfect children’s chicken and are great for those who are interested in fair chickens

670 - 1566 sq ft